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Old June 2, 2011, 01:51 PM   #1
DE Shooter
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Left handed M1903a3

Please don't shoot me...I am about to commit blasphemy...I think.
A friend, with no computer, called me and asked me to find out this:
Is it possible to convert a M1903a3 to left handed operation? Where could the parts needed be purchased? He said the rifle is a correct military grade Springfield...OK, I'll duck and read.
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Old June 2, 2011, 02:13 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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Left hand conversions of bolt actions used to be a well known but not very common gunsmithing project. The availability of left handed rifles from the factories has pretty much ended that. To have the necessary work done at 21st century gunsmithing rates would be extremely expensive, even assuming you found somebody willing and able to do it. There are no parts to purchase, everything has to be altered from the original right handed part or made from scratch.

David Gentry was one of the last gunsmiths doing such work but he refused the huge job to do another in 2005 and died in 2007.

See pictures but no detailed descriptions at:
http://forums.gunbroker.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=157712
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Old June 2, 2011, 03:45 PM   #3
RickB
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Yes, move the gun from the right shoulder to the left.
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Old June 2, 2011, 04:23 PM   #4
DE Shooter
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So, there is no source for left handed M1903a3 bolt assemblies? My friend, a Nam vet retired Sea Bee, is an excellent craftsman at metal and woodworking. He is under the impression, if he can buy a lefty bolt assembly, he can make it work. I know nothing of M1903s, but it looks like, from pictures, the entire safety system and receiver would have to be altered. Not to mention the woodwork involved. I'm no gunsmith and neither is he. So any parts needed would have to be custom made or originals, altered?
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Old June 2, 2011, 06:56 PM   #5
oneoldsap
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Don't Make Sense

That Magazine disconnector is going to be right smack in the way . I would venture to say that the 03 is probably the worst candidate for L/H conversion ! Ya , just put it over on the other Shoulder or buy a Leftie !
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Old June 2, 2011, 09:32 PM   #6
4V50 Gary
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The photos in the link shows it can be done, but the magazine disconnect remains in its original position.
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Old June 2, 2011, 09:41 PM   #7
Jim Watson
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Quote:
So any parts needed would have to be custom made or originals, altered?
Yes. Almost exactly what I said above, in fact.

There is no elven workshop turning out lefthanded obsolete rifle bolts for your convenience. A lefthand conversion is one of the more complicated projects a gunsmith can tackle.
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Old June 2, 2011, 09:45 PM   #8
kraigwy
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Simplest method is to bend the bolt handle up so you can reach it easier with your left hand.

I've seen some pretty fast left handed bolt gun shooters work the bolt on the '03, but it its bent straight like the Mosin, it's easier to do.
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Old June 3, 2011, 03:25 AM   #9
DE Shooter
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Thanks to all. I will relay the info as posted...even the "just switch shoulder stuff" :} Maybe, he will decide he doesn't want it any more and I'll have a shot at my first M1903a3. I see them at gunshows alot; fairly expensive. I can't forget seeing them, as a kid at Woolworth's, in barrels for $20 to $40 a piece...plenty of them!
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Old June 3, 2011, 12:21 PM   #10
James K
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I have handled, but like a fool didn't buy, a Sedgley left hand conversion of a M1903. The bolt was totally reworked, and the receiver heavily modified. It was not a mirror image, though, and ejection was still to the right. The cutoff was in the normal position and the safety was standard.

IMHO, making one is not a job the average gunsmith should tackle, and it certainly is not a DIY with a file and a Dremel tool. I think anyone taking on such a job without a pattern or experience would be very likely to ruin both the bolt and the receiver.

Jim
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Old June 3, 2011, 10:05 PM   #11
Mobuck
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Much simpler, much cheaper, and won't desecrate a fine military rifle---just buy a lefthand Savage or Remington.
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